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Child Visitation Schedule

Child Visitation Schedule


An Introduction to Child Visitation Schedules


Child visitation schedules can be incredibly difficult things to compose, since they depend upon the balancing of many different important factors into the schedules of at least three busy people. They also require the agreement of two parties who may have had trouble reaching agreements in the past, which can make a difficult process even more trying. Figuring out a child visitation schedule only becomes more difficult the less you know about what child visitation schedules look like. Perhaps the best strategy is to understand the different elements that child visitation schedules are based on, so you can more easily make your own.


Normal Visitation


Provided that the secondary residential parent lives within 100 to 200 miles of the child, they will likely see their child one weekday per week, typically from the time school ends (or work ends) until 8:30 p.m. Additionally, the child will spend every other weekend with the secondary residential parent, from 6:00 p.m. on Friday to 6 p.m. on Sunday. 


Holidays and Vacations


Holidays present a significant complication to every child visitation schedule, since they can always only be spent with one parent. Therefore, the typical solution is to divide the holidays between the two parents and trade off holidays each year. For instance, one common child visitation schedule has the primary residential parent have rights on even-numbered years for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Halloween, and the second half of Christmas, while the first will have Easter, 4th of July, and Thanksgiving. Children should always be able to spend Father’s Day and Mother’s Day with the appropriate parent.


Of course, school vacations also provide an excellent time for children to visit with their secondary residential parent. Five weeks is a typical amount to be given on a child visitation schedule during summer vacation, though those five weeks are usually not consecutive but spread out through the two-to-three months. Spring break may also be traded between the parents or awarded regularly to one parent.




Matters can change greatly depending on where the secondary residential parent lives. If they live more than thirty or so miles away, they may be required to stay within the neighborhood of the primary residential parent during visitation. If they live more than 100 or 200 miles away, regular visitation becomes untenable. Instead, what is usually done is half of Christmas is given to the secondary residential parent, along with spring break and six whole weeks of summer vacation which may be consecutive. 




Child visitation schedules change greatly for children younger than school age. Weekend visitation may be shortened to just one day a week, while weekday visits may be somewhat shorter, perhaps 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., but expanded to two days a week. Since school holidays don’t affect them, the child visitation schedule does not reflect all those holidays necessarily. For children too young for school but older than infants, visitation may be fixed at the regular once a week, but may begin at 3:00 p.m.